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Conflicted: A History Podcast

History • Society-and-culture • Education

Untangling history’s greatest controversies. Every month, we take a hard look at the historical conflicts that raise difficult questions, stoke controversy, and send our moral compasses spinning.

Popular episodes

Ghosts in the Mountains: The Mujahideen Civil War (Part 4)

Oct 19 • 02:01:07

It’s 1992. The 40th Army is long gone and the Soviet Union has collapsed, but war still rages across Afghanistan. As the Afghan communist regime crumbles, Ahmed Shah Massoud and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s forces clash in Kabul. While America turns its back and the Mujahideen turn on each other, new threats arise and threaten to sweep the old generation of freedom fighters away ...

Ghosts in the Mountains: The Soviet-Afghan War – Part 3

Sep 20 • 02:02:39

As the CIA wages a covert proxy war against the Soviet 40th Army, the Mujahideen are showered with billions of dollars and cutting-edge weaponry. An old animosity between two prominent Mujahideen commanders – Ahmed Shah Massoud and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar - turns into a bitter, deadly rivalry. Meanwhile, Soviet reformers led by Mikhail Gorbachev attempt to extricate the USSR f...

Ghosts in the Mountains: The Soviet-Afghan War – Part 2

Aug 23 • 01:46:38

The Soviet 40th Army invaded Afghanistan in the closing days of 1979. They would not leave for another nine years. Exhausted and frustrated by their inability to decisively crush the elusive freedom fighters in the mountains – the Mujahideen – the Soviets turn to atrocity and criminal violence to achieve their objectives. Meanwhile, adrenaline-seeking journalists and ideal...

Ghosts in the Mountains: The Soviet-Afghan War – Part 1

Jul 27 • 01:03:42

When Soviet Russia invaded Afghanistan in December of 1979, few could have imagined what a seismic impact it would have on the modern world. In an attempt to prop up a wobbly client regime, the Soviets sparked a transnational jihad, inflamed Cold War tensions, and hastened the downfall of their own empire. Often referred to as “Russia’s Vietnam”, the Soviet-Afghan War is a...

Curse of the Koh-I-Noor Diamond

Jun 18 • 01:54:58

The infamous Koh-I-Noor diamond currently sits in the Tower of London among the crown jewels of the British monarchy, but its bloody, eon-spanning journey began in the riverbeds of ancient India. Cut, coveted, and stolen multiple times over, this is the story of the world’s most controversial gem. Told through a series of five chapters, we will look at some of the diamond’...

Kill Yamamoto: The Mission to Avenge Pearl Harbor - Part 2

May 12 • 01:42:04

After the Battle of Midway, the Japanese Navy is in tatters and Yamamoto’s hopes of a quick victory against the United States have evaporated. He has no choice but to fight a war he knows Japan will lose. Tom Lanphier, Rex Barber, and the pilots of the 70th earn their stripes at Guadalcanal. The U.S. codebreakers at Hypo Station uncover the secret to intercepting the hated...

Kill Yamamoto: The Mission To Avenge Pearl Harbor - Part 1

Apr 16 • 01:15:58

In 1941, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was the most hated man in America. As the architect of Japan’s December 7th surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States military decided Yamamoto had to die by any means necessary. Two years later, over the jungles of Southeast Asia, a daring aerial ambush gave the American people the closure they craved. ...

Prophet's Dilemma: The Sunni Shia Split Part 3

Mar 8 • 01:32:14

Civil war has torn the Caliphate apart. In 656 AD, Aisha marches with an army at her back. Ali, newly crowned as Caliph, has no choice but to oppose her. Muawiya sees an opportunity to grab power and start a dynasty of his own. Hussein begins his inevitable path towards Karbala…and martyrdom....

Prophet's Dilemma: The Sunni Shia Split Part 2

Feb 2 • 01:18:23

The Prophet is dead. In 632 AD, the armies of Islam explode out of Arabia, led by a series of aggressive new Caliphs. The Prophet’s young widow Aisha struggles to understand her new role as “Mother of the Faithful”. Meanwhile, Ali, snubbed for the title of Caliph, grapples with his conflicting feelings of bitterness and commitment to the stability of the Muslim community. ...

Prophet's Dilemma: The Sunni Shia Split Part 1

Jan 10 • 01:39:51

When the Prophet Muhammed died in 632 AD, it triggered a succession crisis amongst his followers. After the dust settled, two divergent branches of the faith remained – Sunni and Shi’a. It is a deeply misunderstood story that has been unearthed and repackaged in the 21st century to inflame political animus and give superficial labels to complex tensions. In this episode, w...

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